Faculty Stories: Meet Marny Point

What Nation are you from?

Born in Vancouver, I am from the Musqueam Indian Band.


How long have you been a Lecturer with NITEP?

I was hired in 2005 as the Urban Program Coordinator, overseeing our first and second-year students’ overall program, from their initial application process to their promotion to the third year. I also have taught the NITEP introductory level courses, including their Observation placements in the surrounding public and private schools of Vancouver.


What is your favourite place on campus?

My favourite place has always been the First Nations House of Learning until now, I’d have to say it’s Ponderosa F, and our new NITEP classroom – because anywhere where our students are, is where I’m the happiest.


What is your favourite snack to get on campus?

Has to be the Sushi from the village!


Can you tell us one thing you love to do when you are off work?

When I’m off work… it’s Fishing! I have a commercial gillnetter, and I love to be out on our Fraser river, it is part of our heritage, and I have tried to do my best to teach the next Point family generation the joys of our traditional ways of Fishing.


What would you like NITEP students to know about you?

I came to NITEP because I wanted to make a difference for our Indigenous students and a change in our Indigenous educational future, but mostly for the experience they have in the classroom. One of the young kids I was working with at the Recreation Department was told he should just go home and quit [school] because he was going to anyhow. So many of our Indigenous youth were told they wouldn’t succeed and to go ahead and drop out now. And that’s what sparked me to come to NITEP and to complete my education, to in turn give to students, and let them all know that with the gift that they have within – they can reach every goal and aspiration they have in life. They just need to apply themselves.


Can you talk about your academic journey so far?

I was a struggling student when I was in elementary school, even when I went to high school I felt the same things, especially in Math and Algebra was a hard time, I found a business class where I would earn my Dogwood in two years instead of the four, so I did that. And then I went away and raised my children and got married. When I moved back to Canada in 1993, I saw that there was a NITEP program, I went to Langara and did upgrading just to be eligible to enter NITEP. In 2002 I earned my Bachelor of Education and I loved it. And then, I applied to the Master of Educational Technology [MET] and earned that in 2004. Now I am doing my Ph.D. in the LLED department, just trying to do my best so that we can continually have Indigenous leaders going forward and leading a path in education.


What do you like best about teaching at NITEP?

I think it is because NITEP understands the need to nurture Indigenous ways. The vision of those leaders had when they developed the NITEP program, was understanding we need to have Indigenous role models and someone that looks like us in the classroom, and we get to nurture the gift within each student in the program. Reaching for their dreams and the goals that brought them to NITEP will be the same thing they can give to others when they leave NITEP to become classroom teachers.


What is the best way to study for your class?

I think the best thing to be successful in my class is attendance, being present and having that interaction between their peers as well as myself in the classroom is most beneficial because we do all the readings, we talk about the readings and we talk about experiences within the classroom and then we do slides, elders, and visitors that [share] their intergenerational knowledge and experiences. So, I think that the best way is just being present and be in the moment.


 What strategies did you use to be successful in university?

It was actually hit-and-miss, trial and error. Because I didn’t realize until I was a NITEP registered student and doing my Bachelor of Education that I myself had dyslexia, which took me a long time to figure out how ‘Marny learns’ because I don’t learn like everybody else, I can’t just sit in the classroom. I took so many notes, and I would listen, and I would read…but I had to do multi-sensory learning where I had to read it, write it, and read/ speak it out loud for me to learn and absorb it. It was a hard struggle, but I did it!


Are there any resources at NITEP that you would recommend that could help the Indigenous student be successful?

Well, the number one resource is using the NITEP staff and peers, all are there for them. Everybody is willing to support them and help them along their journey. I always tell them to use their peers in NITEP, especially those who are a year ahead of them or a couple of years ahead of them, ask them about their experiences and take tips and information from the senior students, and then, of course, we have the beautiful Xwi7xwa library and the staff there, you can’t go wrong asking them for assistance.


What is the one piece of advice you would like to give to the fresh student?

The same thing- to reach out and understand that not everyone has the answers, we walk through these halls, and sometimes we’re still trying to figure out if we belong or if we’re in the right place or doing the right thing, they just need to reach out and ask questions, and not allow things to discourage them so that they can keep going every day. Our word in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ is; “nəc̓a:mət ct = we are all one” we are all doing this together!